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‘Genuine and likeable’ McLoughlin fondly remembered in Killarney

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VISIT: Alan McLoughlin is presented with a Killarney Athletic jersey by club stalwart Mikey O'Sullivan during the inaugural FAI Summer Camp at the Áras Phádraig in 1992.

In August of 1992, Ireland international Alan McLoughlin spent a week in Killarney as part of the first ever FAI Summer Soccer Camps, which were organised in this town in conjunction with Killarney Athletic. Over the course of his stay, the Portsmouth player coached a group of local youngsters at the old Áras Phádraig pitch on Lewis Road.

Long-serving Athletic chairman Mikey O’Sullivan liaised with McLoughlin throughout his visit and so impressed was he with the Mancunian’s work on the training pitch, he suggested that a career in coaching lay ahead for the then-25-year-old. McLoughlin, who was a bit-part player for Jack Charlton’s side at the time, quipped that he still had something to offer as a player.

Little did he or O’Sullivan know just how significant a contribution to Irish football he would later make.

Fast forward to November of 1993 and a tense and fractious night at Windsor Park in Belfast. Ireland needed a result against Northern Ireland to secure a place at the 1994 World Cup but with time ebbing away, they trailed by a goal to nil. Charlton turned to McLoughlin to come in and make an impact, and what an impact he made. The attacking midfielder controlled Denis Irwin’s half-cleared free kick on his chest before arrowing a beautiful half-volley to the corner of the net, and Ireland were heading for America.

It wasn’t McLoughlin’s only contribution to the Irish team – he was selected for two World Cups and was Ireland’s Player of the Year in 1996 – but it was undoubtedly his most important.

He continued playing for his country until 1999 and he would later fulfil O’Sullivan’s prophecy by taking on a coaching role with Portsmouth.

ILLNESS

McLoughlin was diagnosed with a kidney tumour in 2012. Although he had a successful operation at the time, he confirmed in March of this year that he was battling cancer again. He passed away on Tuesday at the age of 54.

Tributes have poured in for the Irish soccer hero these past few days and speaking to the Killarney Advertiser, Mikey O’Sullivan said he has fond memories of McLoughlin’s time in Killarney.

“I recall meeting Alan at the time as he was an assigned coach to our coaching clinic and he was a very likeable and genuine fellow. He and his wife Debbie, along with their few-months-old baby Abby, stayed in the Gleneagle Hotel for the week.

 

[caption id="attachment_37480" align="aligncenter" width="670"] Alan McLoughlin is presented with a Killarney Athletic jersey by club stalwart Mikey O'Sullivan during the inaugural FAI Summer Camp at the Áras Phádraig in 1992.[/caption]

 

“When speaking with Alan he was very proud to be part of the Irish international team and valued his family ties with this country very much. (McLoughlin’s mother hailed from Knockaderry in County Limerick and his father came from Largan, between Headford and Tuam on the Galway/Mayo border.)

“I am sure that I can express condolences to Debbie, Abby and Megan and the wider family at this sad time of their great loss from all of us in Killarney who met Alan through the love and support of soccer.”

McLoughlin will always have a special place in the hearts of Irish soccer fans thanks to that wondergoal in Belfast in ’93 and in his autobiography he acknowledged how significant a moment that was for him personally.

“I occasionally get out the video of that goal against Northern Ireland, watch my volley and watch the elation on my face. I think back to touching down at Dublin airport as the hero of the hour. I think back over my life and career. Serious illness brings with it the inevitable thought of standing at the pearly gates, and accounting for your life. I think back on the characters I've come across, the family members that I have loved and cherished, the joy and pain, I think back to Big Jack telling the cameras that, with the goal, I had justified my existence.

“And I reflect with a wry smile that, yes, when all is said and done, I had done exactly that.”

 

Main pic: The late Alan McLoughlin, who played 42 times for Ireland between 1990 and 1999. Pic: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.

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Séamus Moynihan tops Kerry manager poll ahead of Jack O’Connor and Peter Keane

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by Adam Moynihan

Although it now appears as though he could be a selector on the Stephen Stack ticket, four-time All-Ireland winner Séamus Moynihan has topped our ‘Next Kerry Manager’ poll by collecting over one-third of the overall vote.

Around 37% of respondents said that Moynihan should be the next Kerry boss with 23% of fans backing former manager Jack O’Connor. The team’s most recent bainisteoir, Peter Keane, received 18% of the votes.

Another former manager, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, is next in line on 10%, although it is believed that he is not willing to return to the fold due to work commitments.

In addition to the four main candidates mentioned above, readers were also invited to nominate their own preferred candidate. This open field threw up 16 more names with former Kerry and Dr Crokes manager Pat O’Shea the most popular entry. The Killarney man received around 3.5% of the vote.

Donie Buckley got roughly half as many votes as O’Shea, and the other prospective managers ended up with less than 1% each.

MOYNIHAN/STACK

Glenflesk native Moynihan enjoyed a glittering playing career for The Kingdom between 1992 and 2006, the highlight perhaps coming in the year 2000 when he captained his county to All-Ireland glory. He has since taken on coaching roles with his own club and with Fossa and was part of Darragh Ó Sé’s Kerry U21 management team in 2015.

It had been suggested that Monaghan’s defensive coach Donie Buckley would be part of the Moynihan ticket. Buckley was also a member of Peter Keane’s backroom team, but Keane relieved him of his duties in the early stages of the 2020 season.

However, after this survey was completed, Tony Leen of the Irish Examiner reported that Moynihan and Buckley are, indeed, part of the same ticket, but the manager’s name attached is that of current Killarney Legion boss Stephen Stack.

Stack himself had a long and distinguished playing career with The Kingdom and as a manager led Austin Stacks to the County Championship in 2014 and Legion to an East Kerry Championship in 2019.

The Listowel native is also rumoured to be calling on Dara Ó Cinnéide and Mickey Ned O’Sullivan as selectors, with Joe O’Connor filling the role of strength and conditioning coach.

Stack was not considered to be a realistic candidate at the time of the survey; he was one of the 14 managers who received less than 1% of the vote.

KERRY SUPPORTERS SURVEY

Q: Who should be the next manager of the Kerry senior football team?

Séamus Moynihan 36.7%

Jack O’Connor  23.4%

Peter Keane 18.1%

Eamonn Fitzmaurice 10%

Pat O’Shea 3.5%

Donie Buckley 1.6%

Others* 6.7%

(Carried out online on September 21/22. 431 respondents.)

*Mike Quirke, John Sugrue, Jim McGuinness, Jim Gavin, Jerry O’Sullivan, Maurice Fitzgerald, Tomás Ó Sé, Johnny Crowley, Stephen Stack, Kieran Donaghy, John Evans, Paul Galvin, Marc Ó Sé, Liam Kearns.

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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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